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Study: Top retailers for delivering last-minute holiday orders were…

christmas gift

Retailers were mostly successful when it came to keeping their holiday shipping promises. 

Ninety-one percent of the orders placed on the retailers ‘last ship date’ arrived in time for Christmas, according to the 2019 Holiday Shipping study from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy. Orders were placed with 50 U.S. retailers across a broad range of categories, including traditional big boxes, specialty retailers and online-only e-tailers, to measure their ability to fulfill customer orders on their last guaranteed shipping date before Christmas.

Amazon Prime and Office Depot (ordered on 12/23) came out on top for delivering standard shipping orders (placed on or after 12/20) to their customers before Christmas, followed by L.L.Bean, Walmart and Victoria’s Secret (ordered on 12/22) and Macy’s and Bloomingdales (ordered on 12/21).

But the real winner this holiday season was buy online pick up in-store, according to the report. Consultants from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy placed orders with 10 different retailers in the days leading up to Christmas. Retailers such as Home Depot, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, & Dick’s Sporting Goods were able to satisfy BOPUS orders in less than four hours even in the waning hours of the holiday season.

“BOPUS is the real bright spot this year,” said Steve Osburn, managing director at Kurt Salmon. “Historically BOPUS was a difficult transaction for the customer, whereas now retailers have built ease and convenience into the experience by placing kiosks at the front of the store and allocating parking spaces. We are seeing many excel in terms of speed, visibility into inventory and the ability to fulfill last-minute orders. One of the critical components is to ensure they have a function on their mobile app or online that gives the opportunity for a customer to see all the inventory in an easy way in the store that is near them.”

In other study highlights: 
• In the condensed holiday season, the average last ship date was earlier than ever. 12/16 was the average last ship date, compared to 12/17 in 2018 and 12/18 in 2016 and 2017.

• Fifty-three percent of retailers (compared to 33% in 2018) opted out of having a ‘last order promise date’ as Christmas approached to avoid disappointing customers: This was the highest percentage we’ve seen since we’ve been conducting the study. Instead, many retailers decided to push their BOPUS capabilities and in-store specials to drive last-minute sales and reduce risk.

• The latest Holiday Shipping study from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy found that this year retailers excelled in their ability to execute buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPUS) on Black Friday, as well as upping their game when it comes to keeping their shipping promises on Cyber Monday.

Orders were placed with 137 retailers across a variety of categories on Cyber Monday to measure shipping speed, order accuracy and delivery costs.

Key findings:
•    The top-performing retailers fulfilled orders in an average of 1.8 days, and they include: AutoZone, CVS, Office Depot, Advanced Auto Parts, Amazon (Prime), Best Buy, Burberry, Cabelas, Chanel, Staples, Timberland and Vans.

•    The average time for the top 10 retailers improved 18% (from 2.0 to 1.7 days)

•    64% of retailers delivered an entire order within one week (compared to 63% in 2018 and 50% in 2017)

In addition, the study of more than 1,500 U.S. consumers found that:

•    Consumers are even more demanding:
o    Consumers expect free shipping and a 20% reduction in expected delivery time during the holiday season. In 2018, consumers were willing to wait 3.9 days on average – today the expectation is an average of 3.1 days.

•    Stores will continue to be a big part of retailers’ offerings:
o    71% of shoppers would rather go to the store versus paying for expedited shipping for immediate need purchasing.

•    The best gift ideas happen in store:
o    54% of shoppers say that they get the best gift ideas from browsing in store (20% retailers’ website, 18% traditional advertising, 13% social media influencers).

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